Despite the eviction from Zuccotti Park, the OWS movement is still in force, continuing to cry out against economic injustice. One particular institution that has repeatedly met their ire is Bank of America. On October 28, Occupy Wall Streeters marched on the bank to hand out proclamations to the board members as part of their campaign against corporate excess.
Recently, Bank of America infuriated millions of its own customers by proposing additional debit card surcharges; the bank ultimately reversed the decision. However, despite the bank's villainous reputation, architecturally, at least, their tower headquarters in New York, just off of Bryant Park, strives to be a good world citizen.
Only two years complete, Bank of America Tower is the first skyscraper to have attained a Platinum LEED Certification, the highest rating currently available for environmental sustainability. Among its many positive features, the building is made from recycled materials and has a cooling system that produces ice during the off-peak hours, reducing its demand on the city’s power grid. The building also has its own cogeneration plant to provide energy, including a wind turbine within the tower's top spire. The large air exchanges by the building's rear on 42nd Street not only filter incoming air, they also clean the building's exhaust.
Though it has an entirely glass curtain wall, Cook + Fox Architects, specified the latest in insulating glass and interior light dimming technologies, which consequently allows for maximizing natural lighting while reducing solar heat gain. The façade folds and bends as it rises, creating an elegant massing even as it soars to its 1,200-foot height, making it the second tallest in New York (after the Empire State Building). An elaborate system to capture and filter rain water to use for the building's toilets is housed on the roof. The only break in the tower's glass front is at the base, where it peels back to accomodate the doubly-high entrance atrium at the corner of 42nd and 6th.
The canopy, which is augmented with a wood underside, extends past the glass corner to blend seamlessly with the ceiling within. Also, at the rear of the building, a similar treatment is utilized to mark the entrance for the rebuilt theatre that replaced the Henry Miller that was destroyed for construction. Perhaps the bank is still reeling from its current blows, but at least they can claim this $1 billion structure was a step in the right direction for investing in the future.